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TV Networks Meets Local Content Targets

4 May 2005

TV Networks Meets Local Content Targets

Television Local Content Group Chairman Rick Ellis has welcomed NZ On Air’s latest research into local content on New Zealand television, saying the group is delighted that the three main TV networks have kept the level of locally produced programmes on screen at close to 33% in 2004.

“The networks have once again signalled their commitment to local television by maintaining an average ratio of one in three programmes being New Zealand-made,” Mr Ellis said. “It’s an excellent outcome.

“While there has been a lot going on in the industry in recent times, with networks commissioning a number of projects, we have to take into account the gap between those commissions being made, and the actual appearance of the resulting programmes on screen,” he said. “That makes the job of maintaining the targeted levels a difficult one.

“For instance, the drama targets we agreed to were met, but there was less drama on screen than in previous years because we are talking about projects that are high-cost and high-risk, and we also have to factor in the time it takes to develop projects in that genre. It is difficult to smooth out significant swings from year to year, in areas like that.”

The annual NZ On Air Television Local Content Report has reported that TV One, TV2 and TV3 have effectively met or exceeded the transmission targets they agreed for 2004. TV One reached 51.6% against a target of 52%, TV2 reached 24.3% against its target of 19%, and TV3 reached 21.6% against a target of 20%.

The Television Local Content Group includes representatives of TVNZ, TV3, Prime TV, the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA), and NZ On Air. It sets targets in four genre groupings – children's programmes; drama and comedy (including children’ drama); documentary, information and entertainment; and news, current affairs and sport.

“Prime TV came on board during 2004, so their first results against target will be measured in next year’s report,” said Mr Ellis. “And we are pleased to announce that this year, the Mâori Television Service has also joined the group.

“We have noticed a drop in this report in the level of children’s programmes on screen, but that has to be viewed in light of the fact that there has been a change in philosophy regarding children’s programmes in the last year.

“That has seen a shift from the hosted linking programmes we used to see, which contained a large proportion of overseas programmes, to more stand-alone children’s shows,” Mr Ellis said. “These more-substantial shows cost more to produce, and that means fewer hours are able to be produced.

“It’s another indicator of the challenge a country the size of New Zealand faces in maintaining local content levels, particularly in genres like children’s programmes, drama and comedy,” he said.

“I’d have to say, though, that considering all the factors that influence the production of local content in this country, the figures presented in the NZ On Air report give us cause for celebration, and we’ll be looking to maintain and grow this sort of performance in the future,” Mr Ellis said.


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